Liberal blogger Oliver Willis wrote: “Two separate dispatches from Edward Snowden on Monday have continued to unravel the wannabe whistleblower and show him to be something of a simpleton in the way he views the world. In the real world countries spy on each other. This practice is not limited to enemies or countries with some hostility to each other, but even allies spy on each other to keep up with the Joneses. But for guys like Snowden — and Bradley Manning and [Glen] Greenwald — this is too much for them. The Great Satan (America) must never spy on others.”
In the GOP, there’s now a split between libertarian-inclined Republicans who admire Snowden’s actions and strong-on-defense Republicans who consider him a traitor. This could impact both parties’ races for the 2016 Presidential nomination because for some voters it’ll be a litmus test. Nuance doesn’t play well in primaries, so some voters in both parties could demand candidates declare one priority: private at all costs or security at all costs? Polls find Americans divided on Snowden’s actions, with younger voters being more inclined to feel he did the right thing.
Lost in all the reports about Snowden, his interviews, his possible motives, and people choosing sides is the question of the damage his revelations may have done — and could do. An ABC News report began with this: “As the U.S. intelligence community struggles to complete a damage assessment over the secret information allegedly stolen by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, sources told ABC News there is a growing consensus within the top circles of the U.S. government that the 30-year-old contractor could deal a potentially devastating blow to U.S. national security,”
If a future terrorist attack that matches or tops 9/11 occurs because Snowden’s leaks removed existing prevention measures, or tipped off American’s must brutal enemies, look for the bulk of Americans to boo members of the Edward Snowden fan club.
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States.